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SMTA upset over Glasgow apprenticeships

The Scottish Motor Trade Association is preparing to oppose the country’s de-volved Government’s plan to create 2,000 construction apprenticeships in Glasgow.

The SMTA believes the initiative is unfair and damaging to the motor trade in Scotland.

The industry is already finding it difficult to attract high-calibre young recruits.

Up to 5,000 young people leaving school in Glasgow next year will have the chance to apply for an apprenticeship.

The offer is part of a £30 million initiative by the city council to assist in the completion of new arenas and infrastructure ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be hosted by Glasgow in 2014.

Most of the construction apprenticeships will be offered by City Building, which is owned by Glasgow City Council.

In 2007, City Building received more than 2,500 applications for 77 apprenticeship places.

Douglas Robertson, SMTA chief executive, said an approach to the Scottish Government would be made once all the details in the proposal were understood.

“This is presented as a way of ensuring the Commonwealth Games are ready on time,” said Robertson.

“Cynics and sceptics in Scotland though will say it’s a way of reducing the unemployment figures.

“We believe the proposal could be discriminatory but we need to be sure of our facts before taking action.

“We are already failing to attract the quality of people we once did to train as technicians.”

Robertson said many young people were now going to university, and leaving with an HND or “a degree in sociology”.

There was also resentment among Scottish employers because they received only about half the £17,000 contributed by central government that goes to companies in England.

“The money is intended for training and fees but at least half of it seems to disappear on the way to businesses in Scotland,” he said.

“This is a political issue,” Robertson added.

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